“An important biological species is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural habitat: MAN” Fidel. “ Once in a while, not often, but occasionally, you have an opportunity to do what many have not. Join a NEEM Brigade and explore the real Cuba, you will not come home the same.”
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Is it legal to travel to Cuba?
Yes on general license travel allows you to travel with us on NEEM programs. We specifically work in sustainable agriculture, agroecology, environment, Culinary, food security, sustainable urban and rural agriculture, permaculture etc. with plenty of time for culture and music “Seed to Plate”™ “A Wandering Feast”™. With NEEM all you have to do is want to go.
2. What are NEEMs accommodations once there?
Travelers with NEEM are diverse and accommodations are often determined by the individual brigades itinerary. We stay where it is easy to exchange money and get transportation. We have some quality spots in town that are central and announce per trip. We were the first to stay at Casa Particulars and do when it is possible based on itinerary.
3. Can we arrange our own accommodations?
Not during scheduled travel but yes on independent. It is important to the group dynamic that everyone be together for scheduling and the camaraderie/support you will find with the group.
4. Do we travel together?
NEEM delegates travel together with driver and interpreter/guide/NEEM representative during the structured travel time. Groups led by NEEMs Founder, Dr. Funes (founder of Agroecology in Cuba), Richard, Luis and other professionals are announced in advance.
5.What does the cost include?
The stated cost of the trips includes pick up at airport, lodging, transportation during structured time, all breakfasts, some lunches, one celebration dinner (split by delegates), a guide, itinerary, and activity. It does not include air fare to Miami or hotel in Miami.
6. Are there activities after the day program – no have fun?
There are not activities scheduled after the day program but we have the best recommendations. If the NEEM leader announce something spontaneously; or a cultural event is listed, it would be a mistake not to make those but they are not required and optional. We program a celebration dinner which everyone always attend. Each delegate pays for their share of these cooperative dinners.
7. Can I upgrade accommodations?
Not during the 4/5 days of structured time with NEEM before research. Change may be made on the Casa Particular but only with 45 day advance.
8. What is delegation confirmation time line?
Plan ahead, deposits are due to secure and final payments are due 60 days before departure. Occasionally due to the myriad of factors regarding travel to Cuba we may have to cancel the actual group or structured period. If we do the price is deducted from the total and all other arrangements made for you are good. If you cancel you may sign up for the next convenient delegation within a one year period which most do.
9. How much is air fare?
This is usually $499 to $545 w/visa, tax and insurance and include US Departure Taxes and Cuban Medical Insurance for the visa dates in Cuba. We arrange this and you pay directly. Special Visas and permissions are arranged and why we can take you where we do.
10. What do accommodations cost?
These prices vary hotel to hotel, Casa to Casa, itinerary to itinerary and change dependent on length of stay, single vs. double, hotel vs. organization etc. They are none the less calculated into the travel fee at final invoice based on hotel and all ground.
11. Will NEEM provides a knowledgeable representative through out the trip?
Yes. We pride ourselves on going the extra mile in providing a multilayer experience by having Cuban people, leaders of the movement and NEEMs Founder. You are getting much more than just a trip to Cuba. We encourage you to shop. Look for organizations like NEEM involved, connected, knowledgable, know the culture & political dynamics. It makes a real difference.
12. How much money should I plan for?
Plan on $100 per day and you will be in a comfort zone.
13. Can we bring cigars and rum back?
Yes – now you can
14. Will someone meet us?
YES. A NEEM representative will meet you in Havana at the airport and this is announced. Transportation is by bus if hotel or taxis if Casa Particulars.
15. What if we are coming from a long distance?
We recommend arrival and accommodations the day before departure for Havana in Miami near the airport with good ground transportation. If there is time to connect in one day direct to Havana we announce it. That may apply to some and not others.
16. What about baggage?
Cuba charter flights allow 44 lbs. of checked luggage. Excess baggage fees vary but are around $1 or so a pound. Travel light, its easy, its Cuba and relaxed.
17. What about passport and Visa?
Your passport must be valid for 6 months plus prior to your travel or a visa will not be issued by Cuba. We make these arrangements and why we need the passport scans 60 days prior. If you want your passport stamped, you have to ask – we always do as a historic souvenir.
18. What about exchange before departure?
We recommend EURO’s or U.S. dollars now. EURO is almost one to one and USD is a 10% fee (the additional 10% that was in place no longer applies) – exchange EURO’s at your bank prior to departure from home.
19. What about gratuities?
Tip for service is expected. End of trip gratuities are pooled by the Delegates for our hosts. Your tip to those who served you during your time is dependent on the service and your call. We collect the tip anonymously, no exceptions and pool them in individual envelopes for presentation at the celebration dinner last night of the structured portion of the trip. This is called the “night of the envelope” and very important to the host and families living on the margin. BE GENEROUS!
20. What’s the food like?
Its great! Tropical meats and potato but with rice and beans. Cubans barely like black pepper let alone hot pepper so the food is somewhat spicy but not spicy hot. If Jeff is with your group, he is an Executive Chef Farmer and has some dynamite spots that are off the radar with great food and prices.
21. Should I worry about the water?
YES. The infrastructure is shot. You invested in a trip to enjoy Cuba, use bottled water to brush your teeth and drink and you will. It will not be a problem if you are careful.
22. What if I fall ill?
The cost of your trip includes Cuban medical insurance for coverage in Cuba. For hospital visits you must bring your airplane ticket and visa as proof of insurance.
23. How safe is Cuba?
VERY. There is really no major crime in Cuba. You have to be street wise and travel smart. Havana, like any city has rough areas for instance. Perform due diligence and do some homework.
24. What about clothes?
Shorts and t-shirts for the day, slacks and shirts for the evenings. A good running or tennis shoe that works with everything is best.
25. How do I communicate to my home or business by phone?
Call from your Casa or hotel. The casa’s may be limited.
26. Will a laptop and cell phone work, should I bring them?
Yes but We don’t bring one, its a refreshing break not to have it. We bring a cell phone and a removable hard drive with everyone’s information on it and use the hotel or internet cafe WiFi. Your cell phone will not work, other than direct data input unless you are in a hot zone.
27. What do you mean by PLANT and FIGHT?
Plant and Fight Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), early on-set diabetes, obesity, poor nutrition, food in-security, social injustice, socioeconomic barriers, for sustainable economies and community, to break the fast or prepared food chain, to bring families together and break bread, end the embargo and to unite the community in which we reside.